Oceans of evidence

 
Published: Thursday 15 July 1999

warming oceans are choking off marine life at an alarming pace and shrinking food supplies for people and other creatures dependent on the seas, according to a report by two environmental groups. The report, released by the Washington-based World Wide Fund for Nature ( wwf ) and the Marine Conservation Biology Institute in Redmond, Washington, said global warming was starving several species, including the Pacific salmon, and melting polar ice that supports a range of mammals and birds. "Warmer temperatures are raising the biological cost of living for marine species," said Elliot Norse, president of the Biology Institute. The groups blamed emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, produced primarily in the us and other industrial countries that burn fossil fuels for energy.

By thickening the Earth's atmosphere and trapping heat at the surface, greenhouse gases have helped melt vast tracts of polar ice and forced some species to migrate to colder climates, the report said. "These results demonstrate that global warming is coming home to roost," said A Markham, director of wwf's climate programme.

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